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Back when I was in college, my dorm was a few blocks away from a great little Italian restaurant called Cappucino’s, located in the Coolidge Corner section of Brookline, Massachusetts. On Sunday evenings, my roommate and I would skip eating in our dorm’s cafeteria, and instead, we’d take the “T” (Boston’s nickname for its public transportation system) up to Cappucinio’s for dinner.
In addition to enjoying their fantastic white sangria, it was at Capuccino’s that I first ate a classic, old-world Italian dish called Straw and Hay – or in Italian, Paglia e Fieno. Straw and Hay gets its name from yellow and green fettuccine that the dish is traditionally made from, and the pasta is tossed with peas and crispy bits of prosciutto in a simple Parmesan cream sauce.
To this day, Straw and Hay is one of my favorite dishes and anytime I see it on the menu at a restaurant, I order it to eat! Our version today substitutes egg noodles for the fettucine – but if you want a truly traditional dish, make this with a mix of egg and spinach fettuccine noodles. But really, any type of thin, long pasta will work for this simple and delicious dish!
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Straw and Hay (Paglia e Fieno)
Note: This recipe comes together very quickly so make sure you have all ingredients prepared and ready before starting to cook.
- 12 ounces egg noodles or pasta such as fettuccine, linguini or spaghetti
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ounces salt pork, diced very small (see here)
- ½ pound prosciutto diced into small pieces (stack slices and slice the long way into strips, then slice the opposite way into pieces)
- 1 cup light cream, heated in microwave but not to a boil
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add noodles and cook to al dente. Drain and toss with melted butter.
- At the same time, in a large sauté pan over medium high, heat oil and salt pork and cook until crisp. Add prosciutto and cook until meat is crisp. Drain off fat and discard.
- Place cooked meat, cream, peas, pepper and half the cheese back into the pan and cook just to hot. Add buttered noodles and remaining cheese. Toss and serve.
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